Army commanders announced Thursday that a national plan to cut some reserve troops that’s been in the making for nearly two years will be scrapped. Iowa National Guard Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Greg Hapgood says budget reasons were behind the plan to cut troop levels nationwide. The plan for cuts to the “force structure” and funding has been underway for 18 months to two years, he says.
But Hapgood says with Iowa’s ranks full, the state would have seen little or no effect from the cuts proposed to troops and funding. The National Guard in particular is positioned well from a readiness standpoint, Hapgood says, with the amount of soldiers and airmen it should have in the state, a level that’s actually just over 100-percent. He says those soldiers are also well-trained.
Other states that have up to a thousand spots for guard or reserve soldiers unfilled might have suffered under the proposal. Each state is authorized to have a certain amount of people in its Guard and reserve, he says, and also is expected to have soldiers at a certain level of training so they’re qualified to do what they’re supposed to do.
Of the 54 U.S. states and territories in the National Guard system, Congress has currently authorized 350-thousand soldiers. The Department of the Army proposed lowering that to around 333-thousand, which would reduce the number of soldiers in the system. 75 senators signed a letter saying that they didn’t want that to happen, and more than 40 governors signed a similar letter asking for their states’ national guards to stay the way they are. Hapgood says the state of Iowa may actually increase its forces in the near future.